Families can call the Summer Food Hot-Line to find the site closest to them. That number is 800-4-FOOD-W-A (800-436-6392). They may also use the Internet to locate a site by going to www.parenthelp123.org and entering their zip code.
McGowan says summer meals were traditionally served by school districts, but the recession and school budget cuts resulted in shorter sessions, and some areas eliminated summer school entirely. Last year, only about one in 10 low-income children participated in the summer meals program. Her agency responded by making small grants to nonprofits to provide meals at more sites statewide, she says.
“We’ve got to rely on faith-based organizations, food banks, YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs – and it’s amazing. As soon as they know there’s a need in their community, they’re willing to step up and figure out to take advantage of this program and feed hungry kids during the summer.”
Information is available at www.parenthelp123.org.